Whether the boys are boasting about last night’s conquest, discussing the match or keeping to themselves until they can high tail it out of there, I will never know for sure what goes on in the boy’s locker room. I can however shed a light on the girls.
It never really changes – from primary school swimming lessons to PE in 6th year, communal changing rooms and girls do not mix. If the shower is dry and has a curtain, change there. If the toilet has a suspiciously damp floor that would destroy anything that dropped on it, you took your chances to stay behind doors. And if all else failed, just keep yourself as covered as possible in the corner and try not to attract any attention. In the throes of youth and growing up, one longs for the privacy of averted eyes, and given the gloriously embarassing nature of puberty, this is perfectly understandable. And whilst I’m not bigging up flashing people before hitting the treadmill, one would hope that given a few years of adulthood, changing doesn’t become such a big deal.
Then, when you’ve outgrown all the fears, misgivings and anxieties about the girls’ locker room, something new rears its ugly head. You got me, I’m talking about the F word – fat talk.
Unfortunately, fat talk is not limited to teenage girls looking in the mirror before a night out. It can be heard by women everywhere, in everything from explicit self-hate form to a hidden laugh-it-off joke. The changing rooms at my gym resound with talk of meal plans that will start tomorrow, the extra carbs you shouldn’t have had, all that extra weight that needs to be burnt off and how effective each machine/class/exercise regime is to get that elusive skinny physique. Even amongst friends, it is sometimes hard to escape the slippery territory of clothes size and weight. After a while of hearing how great a size 8 is and wondering how much longer it would take to hit a size 6, you stop trying to remind your friends that you are coming back from an ED and are now a voluptuous size 12-14. That still tends to surprise 🙂
I admit I am biased and extra conscious of these things. And the debate of weight-consciousness embedded into our society has been rehashed over and over again. I am a firm believer that societal pressure does not cause eating disorders per se. But is sure as hell doesn’t help. So ask yourself, do women (and men) need to be hurled a constant stream of abuse? From themselves, no less?
Your task, kids, if you choose to accept it, is this:
- Go to the mirror.
- Stare yourself straight in the eye, and repeat the following:
- I’m beautiful
- I’m amazing
- I’m alive
3. Repeat until you realize how awesome you are.
Side note: When that voice comes into your head telling you this is stupid, you tell it to shut the hell up. Why? Because you can.
How do you feel about locker room talk?